“If you think too deeply about religion, it will drive you insane.” That’s the message I brought away from the controversial new movie Noah. Most of us weren’t expecting a biblical documentary. To the contrary, I was willing to give the director lots of creative space to make the brief account in Genesis more cinematic and more suspenseful. But halfway through Darren Aronofsky’s fantasy, Noah goes mad and the historic Ark drifts off the radar, apparently disappearing forever in the remote Indian Ocean!
Movie goers looking for an action-adventure experience may find what they’re looking for. Noah features vast armies of angry warriors and a fantastic CGI battle waged by giant rock-covered Transformers and violent men armed with spears. When our hero Noah finally spots land, his face is covered in blood. Whatever this movie is, it is not boring.
Christians hoping for some biblical authenticity will find moments of inspiration in the first half. The neighbors are surly and violent, but this is a world the Creator is about to destroy! The name God is never mentioned, but the term Creator is used reverently. Although there are hints of New Age environmentalism, Noah constantly trusts the Almighty to keep his promises and take care of business. While the great boat is under construction, there are interesting images and insights all around.
But when the Ark is carried away by the rising tide, the story almost immediately gets lost at sea. This Ark is not a safe place, the people on board are not happy campers, and the title character seems more like a deranged kidnapper than a Bible hero. Granted, Noah and his family were righteous- not perfect. And a good movie relies on conflict and escalating adversity to maintain interest and advance the plot. But what happens on this wooden boat is not just sinful- it’s criminal.
Most Evangelicals won’t give Noah many stars. If you’re planning to see it, look for topics you can use in conversations with your friends who have missed the boat.
Lift up the Cross!